No complaints about the very springy spring we’ve been enjoying here in southeastern Pennsylvania. For the most part, the temperatures and rainfall have been almost exactly average; we even got what I hope is our last frost two nights ago: right around the time of our last frost date. As of this morning, all of the plants that have packed my office, kitchen, and unheated greenhouse for the last few days and nights are finally moving outside for good.
The cool days and nights have been super for the bulbs, like the ‘Pipit’ daffodils above and the ‘Gravetye Giant’ summer snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum) below.
Between the winter-wet soil and the rabbits, I don’t have much luck with tulips, but tiny Tulipa batalinii ‘Bright Gem’ seems to be doing ok at the edge of the stone-and-gravel path in the courtyard. Down in the shrubbery, the guinea-hen lilies (Fritillaria meleagris) have settled in happily and seem to nearly double in number each year.
There are a few early-blooming perennials showing now, including fernleaf peony (Paeonia tenuifolia) and Chocolate Chip ajuga (Ajuja reptans ‘Valfredda’).
Above, Lamium orvala (looking somewhat like a demented pink dragon, if you use your imagination); below, variegated lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis ‘Variegata’).
Above, mukdenia (Mukdenia or Aceriphyllum rossii); below, dwarf comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum).
And above, Silene dioica ‘Ray’s Golden Campion’.
Just one vine in flower now: blooming for the very first time, pink anemone clematis (Clematis montana var. rubens).
Among the in-bloom shrubs are a white currant (Ribes rubrum) above and ‘Chiba Gold’ Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica) below.
Above, compact Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’). And below, the pinnacle of excitement for me so far this year: the very first flower on any of the pawpaws (Asimina triloba) that I’ve been trying to get established here. It’s very unlikely to set fruit, since none of the other seedlings have shown an inclination to flower yet, but it’s a promising start on a plant that’s just 3 feet tall.
The crabapple (Malus) below is not nearly as thrilling, but it makes me happy for the opposite reason: I had nothing to do with planting it or getting it to this stage. There are now nearly a dozen like this scattered throughout the meadow areas, all planted by the birds and growing vigorously despite being surrounded by hundreds of eastern red cedars (Juniperus virginiana) loaded with the orange galls that produce the spores of cedar-apple rust.
This post marks the first time this year that I have a decent showing of lovely leaves for tomorrow’s Foliage Follow-Up. Above is yellow-variegated sweet flag iris (Iris pallida ‘Variegata’); below is the white-variegated version (‘Argentea Variegata’).
Above, the purple-blushed shoots of ‘Gerald Darby’ iris (Iris x robusta); in the photo below, the emerging leaves of golden full moon maple (Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’). [For those of you who came here from Pinterest: Please note that many of the pins of this image contain incorrect information in the description. For the record, ‘Gerald Darby’ is not a Siberian iris; according to the American Iris Society (Iris Classics: ‘Gerald Darby’), among other authorities, it is a hybrid between the U.S. native species I. versicolor and I. virginiana. It grows from rhizomes, not tubers. And as far as I know, it is not currently available on Ebay in the U.S. The only online source that I could find for U.S. gardeners as of this update [late May 2016] is Secret Garden Growers in Oregon. I have not done business with them myself, so I cannot personally endorse them, but they have received good reviews on Garden Watchdog.]
And below, a little vignette from one of my holding beds, with the mingled leaves of a seedling red currant (Ribes rubrum) and a seedling ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius – probably a cross between Diabolo and ‘Dart’s Golden’).
Down at ground level, there’s a yellow-leaved thyme (sold variously as ‘Transparent Yellow’, ‘Yellow Transparent’, ‘Transparent Gold’, or ‘Clear Gold’); below, ‘Elizabeth’ two-row sedum (Sedum spurium).
Now for some combinations, starting with ‘All Gold’ lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) above. Below is ‘Mostly Ghostly’ hosta with forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica).
Above, ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’ ligularia (Ligularia dentata) with the purple sepals of a hybrid hellebore (Helleborus x hybridus). Below is ‘Espresso’ wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) against the new foliage of ‘Latifolia Maculata’ boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), Magic Carpet spirea (Spiraea japonica ‘Walbuma’), and a red-leaved Japanese maple (Acer palmatum).
Above, white-variegated sweet flag iris (Iris pallida ‘Argentea Variegata’) with forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica) and woodland sedum (Sedum ternatum). Below, orris root (Iris ‘Florentina’) with lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina).
Above, ‘All Gold’ lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and ‘Espresso’ wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) under a shoot of golden mockorange (Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus’). Below, ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’ ligularia (Ligularia dentata) with ‘Variegated Kwanso’ tawny daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) and a bit of Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum).
Two combos with a similar color theme: above, ‘Sun Power’ hosta with Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’); below, bloody dock (Rumex sanguineus) with ‘Isla Gold’ tansy (Tanacetum vulgare).
And two with a touch of purple: above, ‘Queen of Night’ tulip and the foliage of ‘Erica’ Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum) with the pink flowers of red campion (Silene dioica); below, shredded umbrella plant (Syneilesis aconitifolia) with ‘Black Scallop’ ajuga (Ajuga reptans).
To finish, some general garden shots.
Above and below is the alpaca-fleece path I’m experimenting with this year, lined with ‘Big Ears’ lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) and wild columbines (Aquilegia canadensis). The shot below includes ‘Surefire’ pie cherry and variegated rough deutzia (Deutzia scabra ‘Variegata’) to the left and ‘Concord’ grape and a kiwi vine on the fence.
Above, the thinned-out ‘Red Majestic’ contorted hazel (Corylus avellana) with some species peonies in the front garden. Below, the foundation border along the side porch, dominated by golden wayfaring tree (Viburnum lantana ‘Aureum’).
Above and below, a couple more side-garden shots, both including the cut-back silver willow (Salix alba var. sericea).
And one more bit of excitement here at Hayefield: we’ve now gone solar! We’ll have all of the electricity we can possibly use, and the boys have a spiffy shade structure in their pasture too.
Well, that’s it for us this month. To see what’s happening in other May gardens around the world, check out Carol’s main Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens.